What are villages? Villages are membership-driven, grassroots organizations. They coordinate members' access to free or affordable services such as transportation, health and wellness programs or home repairs, as well as to social and educational activities. Their goal is enabling members to live independently in their own homes throughout their aging process.
The "virtual village" idea originated in 2002 in the Boston neighborhood of Beacon Hill. Across the nation, more than 146 villages are active today, and at least 120 are in development. Each is unique and governed by its own leaders and members. A national umbrella organization, the Village to Village Network, was founded by several villages in 2006 to share information about the nuts and bolts of organizing. Villages may choose to join it or not. Boise at Home is a member of this network.
How does a village work? It's as easy as picking up a phone or clicking on an Internet-based form. Members request services--such as transportation to an appointment, computer help or changing hard-to-reach light bulbs--that are provided by screened volunteers. Some volunteers may also be village members, embodying the fundamental village concept of “neighbors helping neighbors.”
If a volunteer isn't available or if the service requires special expertise, members will be referred to screened service providers for assistance with home repairs or other non-medical services they require to live at home. The village endeavors to negotiate member discounts for these services from its vendors. After the service is performed, the village checks to make sure all parties are satisfied.
In addition to services, the village supports a variety of social events and other member-directed activities to connect members, enhance their quality of life and help them remain involved with their communities.
How do I know a Village is right for me? If you are physically active and mentally engaged with life, if you enjoy being in your home and neighborhood, and if you want to remain connected to people and feel secure as you age, a Village can give you peace of mind, timely assistance and useful information with a single call.